It’s tying night at the Hackle again, wrapping up the winter with another free pizza and beer bash with Big Sky Brewing, Zimorinos Pizzza and KYSS FM all on hand. The gang down at the Hackle has been putting on these great events all winter, and if you have any tying questions these are the guys to ask. Patient teachers and enthusiastic fly guys all. Head down to the shop at 6:30 to start working on those skwala patterns before they’re here!
This week Charlene from KYSS has a great idea up her sleeve, and you won’t want to miss it. IRON FLY! Three divisions: beginner, intermediate and advanced, set materials for each group, and the best flies in each division get some awesome prizes. Get your creative fly tying on and get set for the best night of the week. This contest sounds like a whole lot of fun, and if you haven’t stopped by to a tying night yet, this one might be just the one for you- beginners will have a chance to tie before the event starts, and we’ll “warm up” for a few hours before we challenge the contestants. Looking forward to it!
In four out or five past years, Lolo Creek has run dry. Historically, Lolo Creek has been a robust little stream filled with cutthroat trout and rushing water, but something lately has changed, and it isn’t an obvious answer. Are upstream irrigators using more than their share? Has development drained water from the area in drought years? Peter Friesen has a great article on the concern of locals and state officials alike about Lolo Creek, read it in The Missoulian.
I’m crazy about CDC, and it’s kind of a weird material to be enamored with since it comes from a duck’s ass and all. But I love it for lots of applications, most importantly, realistic wings that hold a dry fly right in the film where fish are most likely to take a swipe at it. This pattern from “The Feather Bender” is a great traditional-style green drake from across the pond that will surely take fish on the rivers of western Montana. Lots of green drake patterns these days are flashy and loud, and I get the sentiment of the tyer: A big mayfly is the prefect chance to show off a little. But the reality is these bugs are often in the ugly slow water, where silt-bottoms allow their nymphs to get chunky and hatch. The bugs aren’t so much flashy as they are bland. But fish love them, and I have a feeling some of these would do nicely in your box this season. It’s a chance to use some of that lovely CDC you’ve got, and your custom dubbing blend you know you want to bust out.
I know, its a terrible attempt to rhyme. But then, pre-runoff fishing can sometimes be a terrible attempt to scratch the fishing bug with little success. Not so for local anglers that found some good water last weekend. Though the main stems of most local rivers were chugging fast, slow side channels and backwaters were holding fish that were happy to play. With the mid temps, lots of boats headed over the pass to the Missouri, though the weather this week could change things for the moment. We need more cold, heavy snow for a good season. I know everyone is sick of the weather, but I’m smiling every time I see it snow these days. The ice is off the rivers and I’d like it back, thank you very much. The name of the game is still subsurface, though I did see some midges coming off the slow stuff very late in the afternoon on Sunday. Fish were eating the little bugs for me, though buggers and worms and slow stripped junk was working in a lot of the situations. Either way, the pre runoff fishing can be fun as the fish are as anxious to get this shit over with as we are. I’m hoping for much more snow, but if it goes the other way we’ll do what we have to.
We’ve had some crazy weather in the past month. Lots of snow, then lots of sun, then lots of rain, with flooding of highways and little creeks and all that kind of stuff that has people wondering: will there be any water this summer? How are our rivers doing? This is always the talk this time of year amongst anglers, and in recent years the worries have been warranted. Two seasons of low water have us all on the edge for this year. Will this year finally be the one that leaves the chines intact on the drift boat? Probably not. But right now, it’s a little early to tell. According to the numbers, things are looking decent. But it’s all up to these last months of winter, and how spring treats us. It’s a glass half-empty/half-full scenario. Positive outlooks say we’ll make it, Realists say we won’t. Keep an eye on the snow numbers for the remainder of February, and lets keep our fingers crossed.
HR 621, which would have allowed for the sale of 3.3 million acres of public land, will be rescinded today by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who introduced the bill to huge public outcry. Thanks to the people who protested, wrote letters, emails, and even instagram comments that helped change his mind for the better. The fight continues to protect public lands, but we’ve succeeded in putting the officials on notice: we won’t be silent when our right to public lands are threatened. Keep up the pressure on HR 622, and let your voice be heard.
The Grizzly Hackle is keeping the fly tying community in Missoula pretty happy this winter, and dragging them out of the basements, spare rooms and cubby holes yet again with a couple more fly tying nights for February. These are an awesome time, with free pizza and beer and giveaways for great prizes every time. Free lessons on beginner patterns, and an expert table that has been spinning out some big streamers and more. Lots of fun. On top of that, the Hackle staff is working tirelessly at getting the latest materials in stock, and they have what you need. Their new tying section is coming along nicely, and with weekly orders coming in, let them know what you need and they’ll get it in fast. Your guide tying just got a whole lot easier. No more crumpled lists of materials you won’t find at the store. They got it. February’s tying nights are the 9th, and the 2rd, always at 6:30 PM. See you there.